Sending Keller out for the seventh, manager Ned Yost had shown earlier this season he wouldn’t hesitate to stretch him out in the late innings. Knowing how poor the bullpen has performed in close situations through the first 22 games of 2019, the decision to proceed with Keller didn’t come as too much of a shock. However, perhaps staying in one batter too long, Mike Zunino crushed a two-run homer to dead center, giving the Rays their first lead of the night.
The 2019 Royals season and the Sunday game against the Yankees perfectly mirrored the frustrations I feel about getting older. I’m generally an upbeat, optimistic guy, but this team is testing me. Just a few short years ago, this was a game Kansas City would have won. A late inning rally to take the lead, then hand it off to the bulletproof bullpen and chalk up the W. Not anymore.
By my tally, the Royals pen (and to some extent, Ned Yost) have blown ten perfectly winnable games. You throw those games into the win column, and suddenly this team, despite its flaws in the bottom third of the order, becomes very interesting.
And in some ways, this answer only makes you angrier. If money was so tight, you ask, why did they spend $3 million on a one-year deal for utility man Chris Owings, who batted .206 last season in 106 games? And why do they feel the need to play Owings every day?
If you are this fan, you are upset about the roster construction, and the decision to jettison outfielder Brian Goodwin in favor of first baseman/DH Lucas Duda. Goodwin is batting .346, after all, and Duda is taking at-bats away from Ryan O’Hearn, especially against left-handed starters.
Duffy was put on the 10-day injured list when the team broke camp and remained in Arizona to build his arm strength back up, then made one rehab start with Double-A Northwest Arkansas on Saturday.
Duffy threw five innings and gave up four hits, one unearned run and struck out seven in the start.
“The line was fine,” Duffy said. “I was effectively wild. My stuff got me through. That’s the story of my career. I would really have liked to have hung in there a little longer.”
Speaking of hope coming from the minor leagues, some Royals prospects are off to hot starts to 2019:
Josh Staumont threw a perfect inning in relief tonight for Omaha. 3 K.— Royals Farm Report (@RoyalsFarm) April 23, 2019
Bubba finished 2-4 tonight. He’s now hitting .358 with an OPS of .933 to open the season. https://t.co/HzIbqhuMq5— Royals Farm Report (@RoyalsFarm) April 23, 2019
Jorge Bonifacio hit a triple deep into RCF. He scores on an opposite field single by Erick Mejia who is now 2-3 with a double and a walk. Mejia is quietly hitting .291 with an OPS of .862 on the year.— Royals Farm Report (@RoyalsFarm) April 23, 2019
The Royals lineup could look a lot like this very soon:
- C - Maldonado/Gallagher
- 1B - O’Hearn
- 2B - Lopez
- SS - Mondesi
- 3B - Dozier
- LF - Gordon
- CF - Hamilton
- RF - Starling
- DH - Soler
With Erick Mejia, Frank Schwindel, and Humberto Arteaga coming off of the bench. Add in the likes of Josh Staumont, Richard Lovelady, Jake Newberry, and Kyle Zimmer coming out of the bullpen, and Keller, Junis, and Duffy leading the rotation, this team may not win 80 games, but they’d certainly be a lot more fun to watch.
* Edit: I didn’t mean to leave Whit Merrifield off of this list. Wasn’t trying to imply anything. Just a slip of my mind. *
Over at Royals Farm Report:
- Catch up on some options for Kansas City in the upcoming June draft
- Check out the previous week in review for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA)
“Sometimes you’ve just got to grind it out and get the feel back. Basically, that’s what I did. I went down there (and) the extra reps helped me just be able to find it.
Nolan Arenado recorded his 1,000th career hit last night, in style:
Your song of the day is “River of Time” by Jake Owen.